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Nostalgia Is Great Essay

1283 words - 6 pages

In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbes describes that human beings living in the natural condition lack freedom. He claims that freedom is merely the absence of an external hindrance, something that prevents one from pursuing their desires. In the natural state of man, each individual is fighting for themselves, living without political authority. Hobbes believes that the only way to attain true freedom is under the power of a sovereign. Alternatively, in Ethics of Ambiguity, Simone de Beauvoir illustrates how everyone is essentially free. She claims that humans are continuously free in deciding how to deal with facticity (unchangeable facts about ourselves). People are at liberty to choose what attitudes they will adopt in life. De Beauvoir also discusses how people deny their own freedoms as four forms of self-deception. The key difference between Hobbes and de Beauvoir’s perception of freedom is the fact that Hobbes focuses on liberty of several whereas de Beauvoir focuses on liberty of the individual. De Beauvoir fails to distinguish how particular situations do not allow for freedom, and is also contradictory in her statements; therefore Hobbes’ view should be accepted.

Hobbes discusses the natural condition in which every man can is free to do what he desires; every man is equal. However, because of this, no one is free to have what they desire. Total freedom is an absolute lack of freedom. Considering there is no political authority in the natural condition, there is no order, and therefore there is unconditional chaos as life is ““solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” (Hobbes 76). Every man exists exclusively to pursue his own personal desires, yet it is impossible in the natural condition for everyone to completely pursue their individual wants because it may interfere with another’s desires. De Beauvoir argues that everyone is free, everyone is equally allowed to make their own life choices. She claims that people come to the realization that it is up to the individual to decide who they will be in life during their adolescence. Although de Beauvoir claims that everyone is free, she discusses four forms of self-deception, in which people deny their own freedoms. These are as follows: the sub-person, the serious person, the nihilist, and the adventurer. The sub-person withdraws themselves from existence and lives in apathy (42), the serious person commits themselves to values they take as absolute (46), the nihilist believes that the sense of values people invest in and projects we pursue are meaningless (55), and the adventurer fails to attach goals to his projects and lives energetically through life (58). However, De Beauvoir’s position on freedom is contradictory. If everyone is free to decide what values to live by, they are as a result at liberty to choose a life of immorality. Therefore if everyone chose a life of immorality, this would lead to living in Hobbes’ natural condition, in which no one is free because there are no concrete...

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